The internet is now social, but the tools and theories we use to understand it are rooted in a pre-social past. Much of the psychology inspired interaction design draws on information processing models from desktop application design. Perfect for shopping carts, not so good for understanding the social web. Newer psychological theories like Activity Theory or Actor Network theory can help us understand our need for tools like Twitter and Facebook. This world of post-cognitive theories understand social relationship and move beyond the simple world of goal directed tasks with neat closure. The social object is a great framing device for current applications, but Activity Theory has more to offer us. Every act is social in nature. Using this as a starting point this talk will explore how relationships form and how our interactions with each other on the internet form part of our wider experience. Learn how to pick the key objects and actions for your application. Understand the important social aspects of the interactions you support and how privacy affects these exchanges. The coming distributed social web are based on social objects, activity streams plus much protocol glue to connect them. These post cognitive theories are the framework from which they were derived, but there is much more to them that you can apply to your own projects.
11th–15th March 2011